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   StormCnter  I sometimes want to put together a lazy meal, particularly on weekends. But, my husband enjoys having something good to eat. It's too early for good-looking fresh green beans (we called them snap beans in my childhood ), so I resorted to doing something with a couple of cans of them, instead. It turned out to be very tasty.
Lazy Woman's Green Beans
A few slices of bacon (I used four )
2 cans green beans, drained
a small handful of diced onion (about 1/3 cup )
a glob of butter (a couple of teaspoons )
about 1/2 tsp of sugar or maybe a smidge more
a couple of cloves of minced garlic
2 cups of chicken broth

Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry them up
Drain the bacon grease off
Combine everything into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat
Cover the saucepan and simmer on low for 15 or 20 minutes until the beans are the consistency you like. Sprinkle with a little black pepper before serving.
March 18 at 07:41 EST .

   StormCnter  ZZZ, in support of my contention that those on this wall are not necessarily experts but simply lovers and explorers of food, I offer the following. In my extended family, we love what we call Frito Enchiladas. They are not enchiladas, so I have no idea who came up with the name. First, heat up a can of Wolf brand chili (no beans ). On each plate pile a couple of handfuls of Fritos (the small size ), then a handful of chopped onion, then a half cup or so of cooked white rice, top with a good bit of the hot chili, then sprinkle a good bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Place in oven til heated through and cheese is melted, then top the whole thing with lettuce and tomatoes (as in a taco ). My father preferred a fried egg instead of the salad on top.
Now, no one in the wide world would consider that concoction to be anything but junk food, but I'll tell you, it's really good.
March 2 at 10:04 EST .

   5 people like this.

   BirdsNest  That sounds delightful to me. I made some Taco soup that hit the spot. Topped it with crushed Fritos....delicious. I was in the mood for Taco flavor without the mess and ton of ingredients. The recipe called for crushed tomatoes which I did use but also added a can of petite diced fire roasted tomatoes. I have been using them in place of regular diced tomatoes- they add another level of flavor.
March 9 at 06:42 EST .

  3 people like this.

   BirdsNest  I picked up a can of Wolf brand chili no beans. I was surprised to find it here. Can't wait to try it.
March 10 at 09:56 EST .

  3 people like this.

   StormCnter  I hope you like it. Our whole family enjoys it from time to time.
March 11 at 05:50 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Zzzghy  Don't have anything; I like coming here now and then because it's peaceful, you know? My anti-real-Texas-style chili girlfriend comes up with primo kitchen experiments all the time but you guys and gals are pros. You already know pretty much everything. I'm pretty good in there too but it would be like Peewee Herman vs. Aunt Bea. Better to lurk and learn.
February 27 at 13:20 EST .

   4 people like this.

   StormCnter  No pro here, Zzzghy. And I love seeing tips and suggestions to use in the kitchen. Pass them on. I promise your offering will be welcome.
February 27 at 13:59 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Zzzghy  We learned a primo little secret for perfect restaurant-style refried beans -- they're not that, of course; nobody is refrying beans -- what we learned is a few drops of soy sauce. Soy sauce. Bargain grocery store canned refried beans come alive with a short splash of soy sauce.
February 27 at 17:35 EST .

  3 people like this.

   StormCnter  That's interesting. It's amazing how some of the items on our own pantry shelves can bring zip to ordinary foods. We are big fans of Louisiana hot sauce (the red stuff ) to do that sort of thing, too.
March 1 at 05:33 EST .

  2 people like this.

   MeiDei  Thank you ZZZ ... it's often used at our house when something salty is needed to add to a hot pot of whatever ... plain salt sprinkled over hot often makes the salt [in shaker] clump up, besides - a little soy adds color. I use Kikkoman only - it's the only soy sauce (at least in this area ) that is naturally fermented, the best type.
March 1 at 14:27 EST .

  3 people like this.

   StormCnter  I had found a potato soup recipe on Facebook that looked good. I added, eliminated, revised it until we are happy with the result. This soup is very filling on these cold winter days.

Serves 5 or 6

About 10 (est 2 lbs. )Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about a cup and a half )
3/4 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 small can Rotel
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk (or substitute 2 cups half and half for 2 cups of the milk )
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (more for garnish )
Cooked bacon pieces for garnish
scallions sliced for garnish

In large pot, melt the butter and add the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and celery. Over medium heat, stir until opaque.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
Whisk in the flour and cook a minute or two.
Slowly drizzle in a cup of the broth, whisking constantly.
Add the rest of the broth and the milk (or half and half ), stirring constantly.
Add the Rotel.
Bring to a slight boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Not much is needed.
Stir in the cheese and stir until melted.
Serve immediately, garnishing with some bacon, cheese and/or scallions.
February 18 at 09:40 EST .

   7 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Does anyone have a good recipe for veggie burgers? I have one using chickpeas,but am worried the burgers will fall apart during frying.
January 29 at 07:06 EST .

   4 people like this.

   MeiDei  If your recipe doesn't call for flour and/or a beaten egg add some and test a small dollop in hot oil. If included in recipe increase the amount a little bit. If it seems the batter is too heavy add a touch of oil and a tbs of baking powder, in that order, let sit for several minutes to allow the baking soda do it's thing - good luck.
February 10 at 16:47 EST .

  4 people like this.

   BirdsNest  I made a delicious pot of chicken noodle soup. First time it has ever been good. Full of noodles. I used a.tsp.of ground tumeric for colour and it' s good for you.
January 1 at 19:43 EST .

   8 people like this.

   Jerico  Did you make your stock?
January 14 at 00:35 EST .

  5 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Yes. I cooked bone in, skin on chicken breasts. To me chicken with no bone or skin is tasteless.
January 29 at 07:02 EST .

  5 people like this.

   StormCnter  I stole a recipe from Facebook and made a "Taco Braid" yesterday. It's simple, quick and tasty. Using crescent dough (sheet version ) and a spicy taco filling with lots of cheese and after baking topping it with the usual taco stuff: lettuce/tomatoes/sour cream or guacamole if you like. The dish was a hit.
December 26 at 06:08 EST .

   7 people like this.

   MeiDei  I saw how the braid was done and one in the form of a wreath, both got the taste buds wanting either version.
December 26 at 15:16 EST .

  7 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Yummmmm.
January 1 at 19:40 EST .

  5 people like this.

   Zzzghy  My girlfriend and I had a one-on-one chili cookoff for Thanksgiving and I'm pretty sure I was hosed by the judging procedure. Why? because the five judges were all her fellow employees. I had nobody in the game. That, plus she's a real photographer and all I had was my crappy little phone camera and that didn't help. I admit my picture has an unintentionally Alpo-like riff, but hey -- it's chili. The taste-testing was allegedly "blind" but you know how that can go...

I went traditional Texas chili con carne from a recipe from Texas Monthly (pinched from the Chili Cookoff article from a couple months back ); with NO beans and options on the side. Judy went SoCal -- chili with beans -- and that didn't help either considering we live here. The only leveling requirement was the use of ground beef. They were both pretty good but I feel I am within my rights to throw a couple flags and demand a rematch. Like in Tejas.

   December 4 at 17:39 EST .

   18 people like this.

   StormCnter  Zzz, I hereby declare you the hands-down winner! It's barbaric to put beans in good beef chili.
December 17 at 08:32 EST .

  10 people like this.

   MeiDei  Oh Grief, I'm not only a Deplorable but now my friend knows me as Barbaric! Laughing here! It's the only way I can get beans into my son, 3 big bowlfuls at a time too. Maybe it's a regional thing as with Clam Chowder, there's Manhattan style with a tomato base and New England with a cream base.
December 23 at 13:59 EST .

  12 people like this.

   StormCnter  Of course it's sort of a regional thing, although I think it's isolated to Texas. We take our beef seriously, Mei. And I'll pretend I don't know you put beans in Brett's chili because you have so many other fine qualities. ; )
December 24 at 17:00 EST .

  8 people like this.

   Zzzghy  Thank you Storm. Mine was the best chili; Judy beat me on local technical stuff.
January 3 at 18:13 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Jerico  I add black, pinto and red beans to my chili. Love it.
January 14 at 00:37 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Zzzghy  Agreed I'm sure, but that's not chili. It's three-bean soup with meat. It's all good, and local.
February 27 at 13:08 EST .

  3 people like this.

   MeiDei  When researching drying fresh ginger (health wall ) I found this:
Microwave Dried Herbs
Fresh herbs
plain paper or parchment paper

Make sure your herbs are clean and completely DRY.
Working with one herb at a time, lay them out in a single layer on a piece of paper that will fit in your microwave. If possible, remove the leaves from the stems.
Microwave on full power for anywhere from 30 - 90 seconds, depending on your herbs and your particular microwave. (see chart below )
Check the herbs and if they feel crisp they are done, but if they feel soft, microwave them for a few more seconds. Don't over-do it or they will turn brown and burn.
Let the dried herbs cool down and then crush them with clean hands, and package them in small jars or plastic bags.
Store in a cool dark place and use within 6 months.
Times are based on using a 1000 watt microwave. Add seconds more when using 600-700 .oven. Shouldn't have any browning.
Cilantro~ 30 seconds
Sage~ 75 seconds
Thyme~ 45 seconds
Marjoram~ 60 seconds
Basil~ 40-50 seconds
Parsley~ 60 seconds
Tarragon~ 60-70 seconds
Oregano~ 60 seconds
Rosemary~ 60 seconds
November 5 at 17:17 EST .

   10 people like this.

   BirdsNest  If possible store the herbs uncrushed. That way you preserve the oils in the leaves. Crush them prior to use. And use jars with tight fitting lids.
November 22 at 06:56 EST .

  11 people like this.

   StormCnter  I found this in Texas Monthly and it's labeled the Only Texas Chili Recipe You Will Ever Need. Some of you might find it fun to read over. Or maybe to try with the advent of cooler weather. I use Gephart's chili powder instead of all those chilies, but otherwise it's all familiar. And if you don't have lard, Crisco in the can (not the liquid ) will work just fine. There are NO BEANS, I repeat, NO BEANS, in Texas chili.
Serves 8 to 10
12 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
7 pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, toasted, then ground
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds beef chuck roast
1/3 cup fresh leaf lard (preferable ) or shortening
2 large onions, chopped
15 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces ) tomato sauce
3 quarts chicken stock (set aside 2/3 cup for the masa harina )
1/2 cup masa harina whisked into 2/3 cup hot chicken stock
kosher salt

Heat a heavy-bottomed 12- to 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a layer of the chiles. Cook, turning often, until a strong chile aroma—one that is not bitter or charred—emanates from the pan. Do not allow the chiles to burn. Spread the chiles on a wire rack to cool and become moderately crisp. Repeat until all the chiles have been toasted. Grind the chiles to a fine powder in an electric spice or coffee grinder. Shake the chile powder through a fine strainer to remove any large pieces. Combine the ground chiles with the cumin, coriander, oregano, cocoa, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Set the mixture aside.

Trim the chuck roast, removing all fat, gristle, and tendons. Chop the meat by hand into 1/2-inch dice; set aside. Melt the lard in a heavy-bottomed 8-quart (or larger ) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the meat and sear, stirring often. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are wilted and transparent, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to blend well. Cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is thick and dark in color, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chile-spice mixture. Stir to blend well, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a full boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the masa mixture and salt to taste. Cook, uncovered, an additional 30 to 45 minutes on low-medium heat, or until the chili is thickened and the meat is fork-tender. Stir often to prevent sticking. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot and add your favorite toppings (diced onion, avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, corn chips, et cetera ).
October 21 at 11:58 EST .

   15 people like this.

   MeiDei  That's a lot of work but sounds delicious. I made the old-fashioned kind that included beans, which added considerably to the conversation for two days after.
October 26 at 21:28 EST .

  17 people like this.

   StormCnter  It's not a lot of work if you eliminate all that chile pepper roasting and peeling and grinding and sifting. Just use a good brand of chili powder. I put about 4 tablespoons in my chili.
October 29 at 09:07 EST .

  9 people like this.

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